PRESS RELEASE: World Cup Academy
When the readers of Pinkbike last heard
from World Class Academy in 2020, the pilot program had been cut short due to Covid lockdowns. Then, continued difficulties caused by the pandemic pushed WCA to focus on the school's established programs during the challenging school year of 2020-2021. It was simply not an easy time to launch a new school. World Class Academy is now ecstatic to announce that The MTB Academy is alive and thriving.
With a roster of staff and students from all over the Americas, the starting class is a small, but passionate group of mountain bikers. Six students were enrolled for the first quarter along with four faculty members in the field, making for an outstanding ratio of staff to students. The students range in geographic backgrounds, as four of the students are from the US, one comes from Canada, and another comes from Peru.
On September 1st, 2021, the school year started in Bellingham, Washington. Students and faculty arrived from their respective homes, ready to embrace a new educational environment. The Pacific Northwest proved to be an ideal place to start the school year. Bellingham offers such a variety of high-quality riding that every type of rider is able to thrive, be challenged, and grow. Every member of the team— staff and students— comes from a different background in cycling, and everyone is working towards becoming a more well-rounded rider. Some students had never ridden so many machine-built flow trails before. Some had never put tires to a loamy, mossy, rooty, PNW steep section. Others were blown away by the quality and quantity of dirt jump spots. Bellingham truly has it all! The school was able to ride right from the door of their rented house to the famous Galbraith Mountain trail system, making for easy access to the mainstay of Bellingham riding. With so many options in the area, many other trail networks were also explored, especially the local dirt jump spots. The team embraced as many different types of riding as they could— enduro riding, dirt jumping, shuttle assisted downhill, cross-country— the goal was to push everyone as well-rounded riders and progress all MTB skills.
Despite all this talk about biking, at World Class Academy, our philosophy is academics first. Our primary goals are to prepare students to excel in the classroom and to provide a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Along with our travel schedule, students attend class five full days each week and earn high school credit in five core subjects: math, science, social studies, language arts, and foreign language. Our faculty is comprised of professional teachers who have a passion for working with young people in a global and constantly changing learning environment. This past quarter, the school had a 3:2 student-to-teacher ratio, which allowed students to receive an individualized educational experience few schools can offer. Our college preparatory curriculum fulfills rigorous academic standards and has proven to prepare students to compete successfully for college admission into top institutions.
Left: Media productions class had the most students in one class: 6. Right: Environmental Science class tests the soil of Lake Whatcom during a lab.
Learning at WCA happens around the clock. The experiences outside the classroom are as integral to our educational program as our curriculum. Character development is a cornerstone of the school’s mission, helping students become responsible, culturally aware, and compassionate individuals with the ability to find success wherever life may take them. Many of the experiences at WCA contribute to this end. Traveling to a variety of destinations allows students to experience other cultures and witness lives very different from their own. Service-learning projects each semester help students see the importance of contributing to the communities where they live and travel. Living, learning, and traveling with a small group of students and faculty foster the development of good communication skills and cooperation while being responsible for the tasks of daily life abroad teaches self-reliance and teamwork. After their time at WCA, students return home with new levels of confidence and independence, as well as an ability to see beyond themselves with unique insight into the world around them. The mission of World Class Academy is to help our students excel in the areas of academics, athletics, and character, with equal emphasis. The blending of these three in the education of the whole individual is what makes the WCA experience exceptional.
Student Max Jackson carries speed through a berm
While World Class Academy is not a "racing school," goal-setting still carries a huge emphasis at WCA. For athletic goals, students use training logs to note and track their progress. The head coach facilitates athletic plans and workouts that help the students accomplish their goals. This past quarter, the goals of the students ranged from specific jump tricks, to getting in better shape for uphill climbs, to training for future races, to the wise goal of not injuring themselves. For World Class Academy, setting goals goes beyond just learning tricks, or winning a race. It is about helping a student accomplish something they put their minds to while growing their self-confidence in the process. While World Class Academy has produced many top athletes in the other three academies, this is a side effect of practicing the sport every day with advanced coaching and high-quality destinations, not the goal of the program.
After three and half weeks in Bellingham, the school hit the road and then based in Hood River for the remainder of the quarter. The team took advantage of the bounty of trails at Post Canyon, Sandy Ridge, Syncline, Nestor Peak, Thrillium, and even sessioned a private airbag. More PNW loam was ridden, and more student goals were checked off.
The quarter ended with a buzz on October 10th, with students and staff wondering how it was possible that time had moved so fast. The students then all traveled home for fall break which allows the students and staff to recharge, cure some homesickness, and get ready for another quarter of riding and schoolwork.
Left: Aidan Weld styling on his DJ. Right: The team in a big train at the Civic Dirt Jumps.
Cornering for dough with Sam Beatty and a nac-nac from Program Director Riley Gardner
12th grader Jonah Pitchel grinds uphill to get the goods. More Environmental Science fun with Finn Smith, Lucio Vellutino, and Max Jackson.
On October 24th, the team reunited in Moab, Utah for the second quarter of the school year. The team will tour throughout the US Southwest, riding as much as they can, while completing the first semester of school. The team has already grown and is now up to seven students.
When the semester ends on December 11th, the team will scatter like seeds in the wind for a lengthy winter break. Then in late January, the team will commence the second semester of the school year in Portugal. Portugal will be a great first international location for the program and introduce the students to the wonders of international bike travel. Then the school will move to Italy for the final quarter of the year and graduation!
For the 2022-2023 school year the school is planning on traveling to British Columbia, Spain, New Zealand, and Italy. The school is excited to keep exploring the globe to find the best places to ride while completing high school.
World Class Academy MTB is still accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year.
Student Aidan Weld whips a step up
If you are looking to rethink education, it might be time to explore what World Class Academy can offer in our unique experiential education model
It is never too late to apply for this school year, or too early for next year! Check out the website
for more information. Or feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. Also, check out the school's Instagram
to see what is happening out in the field!
Onward and upward!